According to the NHS, heart disease is the biggest cause of death both in the UK and worldwide - but new research has shown there could be a simple way to keep hearts healthy.
Eating a portion of nuts each day may cut the risk of heart disease by nearly one third, a study by Hua Zhong University of Science and Technology, China and Harvard School of Public Health, USA has found.
The experts collated data from a number of earlier studies to reveal the surprising extent of the health benefits nuts can provide.
The results, published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that for each daily serving of nuts the risk of heart disease dropped by between 28 and 29% and the danger of death from any cause was 17% lower.
Nuts contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, other nutrients and unsaturated fatty acids. These work together to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body.
Previous studies have found nuts can also lower the risk of pancreatic cancer. An earlier study by Harvard School of Public Health revealed that women who ate a handful of nuts two or more times per week had a 35% lower pancreatic cancer risk, compared to those who did not eat nuts.
The latest study showed there was no significant difference in diabetes rates between nut eaters and non-eaters and a relatively small reduction in the risk of stroke.